With fall in full swing and whispers about the holiday season growing stronger, many Americans will be preparing their shopping lists – and budgets – for the busy gift-buying season ahead. For 2020, the average American consumer will spend $633 on Christmas. According to a poll by LendEDU, $342 of that will be spent on gifts. The holiday season is also notorious for its ability to encourage overspending. Around 22 percent of consumers expect to incur debt this year to fund their holiday purchases, and millions more are losing sleep as they try to gain control of their finances. One of the best ways to avoid temptation during the gift-buying season is to create a gift-buying budget. With a little resolve and practice of a few budgeting tips, you would be surprised at how well budgeting for the upcoming gift-buying season can go.
Skip The More Is More Approach: Go For Less And Thoughtful
It can be easy to get lured into the consumerism of the gift-buying season. Cleverly targeted adverts and too good to be true deals are all aimed at luring consumers into stores. However, one of the easiest ways to stick to a budget when buying gifts is to remember the reason behind it. In short, it is the thought that counts. Instead of going for quantity, focus on quality. Choose a tailored and personalized gift for your recipient instead of multiple gifts. Think of what your loved one and their unique traits when choosing a gift. What are their hobbies or passions? For instance, if you were looking for present ideas for a little girl who enjoys music, a karaoke microphone might be the ideal choice.
Create A Gift Buying Sinking Fund Months In Advance, And Redirect Cut Costs
While typically used for the repayment of debt or large routine expenses, a sinking fund can also be used to help you budget for the gift-buying season. To start with, you need to have a rough idea of what you are intending to spend during the gift-buying season. You can do this with the help of a gift-buying checklist, going by people you intend to buy for (Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries) and the dates that are needed.
Afterward, it is time to choose where to set up your gift buying sinking fund. Most banks now offer easy-to-access savings accounts, which you can manage online or from your mobile phone. Some of them even allow you to set a withdrawal date and automated transfers from your main checking account to ensure you stay on track to your goal. Once you have set your gift-buying budget and chosen a saving option, it is time to look at your monthly household or personal budget. Finding areas to cut your spending or redirecting extra money each month to your gift buying sinking fund makes the process simpler, and means you are not left out of pocket when it’s time to checkout.
Plan, Track, And Then Plan Some More
One of the best ways to stick to a gift-buying budget is to do your research. Plan out what you would need before heading to the stores. For instance, list three potential gift options for individual Christmas gifts based on the recipient’s personality and likes. Then you can head online and try to find the best prices using comparison or deal websites. You can also use other tools like the Amazon app to price compare when shopping. A quick photo or screenshot of an item can be used to compare prices across other vendors and find the best deals.
A great tip here is to get started with your planning early. Key opportunities for great deals like Black Friday are coming up, and with a little research leading up to the event, you can nab your gifts for much less. Lastly, keep track of your spending as you go along, and adjust your budget accordingly. Keep the planning process a continuous one so that you not only get the best prices, but you may even save money on your gift buying. Keep an eye out for holiday season coupons and flash sales from retailers to save even more. Stick to these simple guidelines, and you stand a good chance of avoiding the gift-buying season debt spiral.